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Mallets Aforethought (Home Repair is Homicide, #7)
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Mallets Aforethought (Home Repair is Homicide #7)

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  1,132 Ratings  ·  60 Reviews
Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree left her high-powered career for a dilapidated fixer-upper and the dream of a quiet existence in the quaint town of Eastport, Maine. But she found that no matter how carefully you remodel your life, murder can take up residence anywhere.

It’s Eastport’s most notorious landmark: the old Harlequin House. Named for the disgraced physician Chester Harlequ
Paperback, 368 pages
Published October 26th 2004 by Bantam (first published January 1st 2004)
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bella Sandberg
May 22, 2009 bella Sandberg rated it liked it
A single continuity error popped up, tempting me to list two stars, but it's not a problem in this novel, only the series. The book itself is easy to read, enjoyable, and very human in the blunders of our amateur sleuth and heroine.
Jun 08, 2011 Ellie rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, series, library, cozy
Mallets Aforethought by Sarah Graves is #7 in Graves' "Home Repair is Homicide" series.

It takes place in a small town in Maine and the protagonist are pair of women home repair experts: Jacobia (known as "Jake") and Ellie, friends and partners in fixing homes and solving crimes.

I had a tough time rating this one-it really is a half-star case for me: better than a 2 star "ok" but not quite a whole-hearted 3-star "I liked it." I enjoyed the location and the characters were comfortable to spend tim
Nov 12, 2011 Darla rated it it was ok
Disappointing. This is the 7th in the "Home Repair is Homicide" series, and based on this book, I won't be reading the others. The setting is neat (Maine), but the characters and plot are only semi-interesting, and I am very annoyed with the author's writing style; she interrupts herself (and her characters) a LOT and it makes her writing very stilted and awkward to read. An example: "'So Cory,' George went on, 'has to eliminate the ants.'" Not annoying if it were once in awhile written like tha ...more
Jun 25, 2008 Kristen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2008, 2011
I'm several chapters into this book and am enjoying it VERY much, in spite of the author's unfortunate overuse of certain literary devices. The story is excellent and the characters are fun and compelling. This is better than the average cozy, for sure.

The series is set in a small town in maine, which is interesting in itself, but the author doesn't make a big deal out of it; the setting runs, as it should, in the background, and the characters interact with it seamlessly. The slang and casual e
Nov 20, 2016 Karen rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
"Jake" and Ellie find not just one corpse, but TWO when they open a secret room in the historic house they are helping to restore. One seems to be from the 1920'2-30's but the other... far more recent!
Ellie's husband George is accused of the murder and the ladies finding themselves in the search for the killer.
Jul 13, 2017 Lisa rated it really liked it
Jacobia continues her sleuthing in downEast Maine with a cast of enjoyable characters. Her friend Ellie is close to giving birth while her husband is erroneously a suspect in a murder. This is a quick, can't-put-it-down lighthearted read.
Lori Gronewold
Mar 08, 2017 Lori Gronewold rated it it was ok
I couldn't understand why Jake would work on house that didn't belong to her (even if was for a good cause when her house needs so much work)
Jan 26, 2012 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
recently decided to try to read this series in order – even the ones I know I’ve read before. The Sarah Grave books became a favorite of mine once I read the first book I bought. I lost touch somewhere along the way, but came across a new release recently and decided to catch up on the series.

You really don’t need to read the books in order to enjoy the series. While there is progression in the characters and their situations, the author explains enough in each book that you won’t be lost
Oct 14, 2012 Chris rated it did not like it
I have enjoyed Jennie Bentley’s “Do it Yourself” mysteries and Donna Andrews Meg Langslow mysteries.
I thought I would give this series a try.
I struggled with the writing style – almost from the beginning. The writing style did not flow. I wanted to give up reading several times- but ALL of the reviews said this book was good.
One of my particularly low points was when I came across a paragraph – it went something like this---
“people stay here or leave and come back or don’t come back”
And I
msjones Jones
Mar 14, 2010 msjones Jones rated it it was ok
The problem with writing a very long series about murder in a very small town is that you quickly run out of characters to be killers or victims. By this book in the series, the pattern is clear--if a new character is introduced at the beginning, guess what? He/she is the killer. The mystery here was so patently obvious that it almost took the pleasure out of the read. The only thing that keeps me going is my connection to the main characters--the 10 or so central folks that appear in each book. ...more
Apr 03, 2015 Susan rated it really liked it
I really enjoy this series and am re-reading the earlier books on and off as I come across them.

I like the protagonist, Jake Tiptree and her partner in crime solving, Ellie White. The two have a supportive relationship where they balance one another well.

This book in the series was another good one. It had an interesting premise and conclusion.

(view spoiler)
Jan C
May 14, 2009 Jan C rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I like this series. I don't much about Maine, passed through there once when I was about 12 and my brother had a friend who had a summer job there, We were on our way to Canada.

Jacobia Tiptree is a repairing fool. Her usual partner in crime, Ellie White was extremely pregnant so on this investigation Jake had to take the lead. And the problem is the person who needed clearing is Ellie's husband who won't say where he was at the time of the murder.

And this is complicated somewhat by Jake's forme
Leslie Nagel
I was unfamiliar with Graves' DIY cozy series until I started rummaging the shelves of my local library in search of a crime scene for Victim #2. This one was perfect, since it included vintage clothing, the primary bill of fare at Charley Carpenter's shop Old Hat.

And it fit inside a closet.

". . . seated on a low wooden chair in the tiny room . . . slumped over a table, one arm outstretched, the body wore a sequined chemise whose silver hem-fringe crossed its mummified thigh . . . A candle . .
Sep 13, 2014 Awwwtrouble rated it liked it
7th book in this series - and luckily it was available at the library. The rest of the series is also at the library, so I will continue, but I hope she's got some tricks up her sleeve moving forward. The murderer was telegraphed pretty early - as another reviewer said, once a new character is introduced early it's a pretty good bet said character is the murderer. And this one was telegraphed with flashing red lights, and the story thinned out considerably from there.

Graves does a great job wit
Feb 08, 2012 Amanda rated it really liked it
One of the reasons I enjoy these books so much is the fabulous narration. The reader does such a wonderful job on the voices and just the overall telling of the tale, it's very engaging. It helps that she has solid material to work with. Another good mystery from Ms. Graves - though it didn't take me as long this time to figure out "whodunit" - she's pretty good a masking the "bad guy" until the last few chapters, but I am starting to be able to pick out the clues better, the longer I'm with thi ...more
Oct 04, 2012 Megan rated it it was ok
Not everyone can be Agatha Christie, but this particular sleuth - well, I had to finish it because I started reading it, not because it was well-written. Not everything connects, too many sentences split in awkward places, and too much "how did she know that?" I dislike know-it-alls. That's my job. :) I picked it up because it said home improvement junkies would enjoy the DIY details as much as the mystery. Eh. Not worth it. Took me nearly a week to finish it, so it definitely wasn't a page-turn ...more
Nov 22, 2015 Val rated it really liked it
Jacobia Tiptree mystery. Jake and her friend Ellie are part of a team working on the old Harlequin House which was reputed to be used as a hideout for gangsters during Prohibition. When stripping down some old wallpaper they discover a secret room which not only hides one body from the 1920s but a second body of a hated local real-estate mogul which was very recent. How did the body get into the sealed room and who did it? When it is found the modern day mogul was poisoned and the same poison wa ...more
Mar 21, 2016 Sanz rated it it was ok
I chose is as a disposable book to read while in the hospital, because it seemed akin to an old-fashioned Agatha Christie mystery. It fit that bill okay, but my reaction was Meh. It didn't help that I figured out the culprit almost as soon as that character was introduced. Still, if you're in the mood for an escapist and rather violent mystery, this might appeal to you especially if you don't mind skimping on realism.
Jul 11, 2013 Marcia rated it it was amazing
Bodies stack up early in this mystery when Jake & Ellie find the body of a woman who died many years ago along with the body of the most hated person in Eastport. All of these and others were not of native Eastporters. Otherwise, the population of the town would be significantly lower. Jake stumbles on some of the reasons for the murders and bumbles her way through the rest of it. A few house repair hints round out this latest adventure.
Arlene Downey
Oct 21, 2015 Arlene Downey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Poor George

Ellie and Jake (mostly Jake this time) solve another one. Ellie has an excuse, she is about nine months pregnant and George has been arrested for murder.

Jake and Wade help a couple reunite, Jake gets a few bad guys jailed and George's truck takes a beating!

A great story!
Jan 20, 2012 Terri rated it it was amazing
Another Sarah Graves Home Repair is Homicide mystery. This book was definitely one of the more suspenseful ones in the series and did a great job of using the home repair background, expanded a little bit, to explore what appeared to be one of the classics of mystery--the locked room with a dead body puzzle. It is a suspenseful and entertaining read.
Nov 21, 2014 Kristen rated it did not like it
Shelves: i-quit
I got just under halfway before throwing in the towel. I couldn't bring myself to care enough about the characters or the story. To paraphrase the author {If you focus your eyes just right and kept turning pages determinedly, the book was perfectly readable}, but there are so many other books I'd rather be reading.
Jun 14, 2014 Linda rated it really liked it
After ordering the books from my library, I am now reading them as I am receiving them. This one is good although again I must say for a town of 2,000 there are an awful lot of murders. Ellie is pregnant and her husband George is accused of murder so Jake (Jacobia) has to do most of the leg work because Ellie is due any minute.
Sep 07, 2011 Lynda rated it liked it
Another interesting murder set in small town Eastport, Maine. Jake and Ellie are involved in a volunteer effort to renovate Harlequin House when they discover two dead bodies in a seemingly locked room. Again I completely missed the clues to the murderer but a good read.
International Cat Lady
Meh. This is only the second Sarah Graves book I've read (the other being Dead Cat Bounce, which - despite its appalling name - was quite good). This one just didn't quite do it for me. I have nothing particularly negative to say, but nothing particularly good either; disappointing.
Feb 16, 2008 Cheryl rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
This was a great read, and I loved Jake and her friend finding a secret room with a dead body! They had to discover then who the person was and what had happened. One of the better Jacobia Tiptree stories!
Oct 04, 2012 Pat rated it it was amazing
I really do enjoy Jacobia Tiptree and her Home Repair is Homicide Series. Excellent writing and a pleasure to read. Or, as I like to do, to listen to them. The Reader, Lindsay Ellison's voice does the character so well!
Mar 08, 2015 Cyndi rated it really liked it
Pretty good book. Since I live in Maine and am from "away" I can identify with a lot of the idiosyncrasies spoken of. I never attributed the long Maine winters to the hobbies everyone has that are so unexpected. Food for thought.
Feb 05, 2012 Shelli rated it liked it
I was happily surprised. Kept me guessing all the way to the end.
Apr 28, 2012 Margaret rated it really liked it
Jacobia needs to be more careful. I need to visit Maine.
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Sarah Graves lives with her husband John, a musician and luthier, and their black Labrador Retriever in a house very much like the one Jacobia Tiptree is remodeling in Eastport, Maine. When she's not writing Jake's adventures, Sarah works with her husband on the house and she plays the 5-string banjo.

Librarian’s note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

More about Sarah Graves...

Other Books in the Series

Home Repair is Homicide (1 - 10 of 16 books)
  • The Dead Cat Bounce (Home Repair is Homicide, #1)
  • Triple Witch (Home Repair is Homicide, #2)
  • Wicked Fix (Home Repair is Homicide, #3)
  • Repair to Her Grave (Home Repair is Homicide, #4)
  • Wreck the Halls (Home Repair is Homicide, #5)
  • Unhinged (Home Repair is Homicide, #6)
  • Tool and Die (Home Repair is Homicide, #8)
  • Nail Biter (Home Repair is Homicide, #9)
  • Trap Door (Home Repair is Homicide, #10)
  • The Book of Old Houses (Home Repair is Homicide, #11)

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